This weekend will be a big one for golf as the Diamond Resort Invitational returns to the Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons Resort Orlando. The event will benefit Florida Hospital for Children.
Recognized as the most unique tournament in golf, the tournament will feature 28 PGA TOUR Champions players, four LPGA stars and 52 top-tier athletes and celebrities in two distinct competitions with a scoring format that awards points as opposed to strokes. Threesomes will include one PGA TOUR Champions Tour or LPGA professional and two celebrities, each playing their own ball and competing from the same tees.
Now in its third year, the Diamond Resorts Invitational has become one of the most sought-after invitations for golf pros and celebrities alike. During year one, only celebrities were invited to play. Starting last year, the tournament became part of the PGA Tour Champions Challenge Season schedule, so golf professionals were added to the already impressive roster.
“We caught lightning in a bottle,” said Michael Flaskey, CEO of Diamond Resorts International®. “The tournament has been an enormous hit, being nationally televised on Golf Channel, becoming part of the PGA TOUR Champions Challenge Season schedule and the best part of all is that we’ve raised some serious money for Florida Hospital for Children.”
Last week, Sir Nick Faldo, a six-time Major champion, World Golf Hall of Fame member and winner of 42 tournaments worldwide, was announced as a participant in this year’s tournament. He joins NFL Hall of Famer Marcus Allen, MLB veteran Roger Clemens, country singer Joe Don Rooney, two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip, actors Alfonso Ribeiro and Jack Wagner, and many more. PGA TOUR Champions and LPGA players will compete for $750,000 over the 54-hole tournament, and celebrities will play for a $500,000 purse.
“I have often heard how much people enjoy playing the Diamond Resorts Invitational with its exceptional hospitality and its roster of competitors,” Faldo says. “When it fit into my schedule this year, it was the first golf call I made for 2018. Now it’s my season opener.”
Eleven Diamond Resorts Invitational participants will visit pediatric patients and their families at Florida Hospital for Children on Jan. 9 as part of the tournament’s kick-off celebration. Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz, The Bachelor host Chris Harrison, television star Jack Wagner, Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien, PGA TOUR Champions star John Cook, military hero Chad Pfeifer, Golf Channel host Blair O’Neal, country music stars Lee Brice and Colt Ford, LPGA champion Brittany Lincicome, Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson, Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip and National Baseball Hall of Famer Pudge Rodriguez will team up with patients for games of putt-putt and room visits.
Heading to the event this weekend?
Here are some things you should know before you go:
1. Free parking for all spectators will be at the Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom, located at 3450 World Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830, in the Scar/Cruella lots from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Disney shuttle buses will then transport guests to and from Tranquilo Golf Club.
2. You must have a tournament credential to board the bus, and all guests will be subject to security screening.
3. If you need to pick up tickets or exchange vouchers, there will be a tournament trailer in the Magic Kingdom lot adjacent to the bus pick up area from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
4. Shared ride or taxi drop off and pick-ups will be at the Four Seasons Resort only. All passengers must have tickets and will be subject to security screening prior to entering the golf course. Drop offs will not be allowed at the front of the course or the clubhouse.
5. Bags larger than a small purse (6” x 6”h) and clear plastic, vinyl or other carry items larger than 12” x 6” x 12” will not be permitted at the tournament, as well as low or oversized chairs, seat cushions in a carrying case or that have pockets or compartments and video cameras. A full list of items that are not permitted on tournament grounds, as well as a full list of permitted items, can be found here.
Diamond Resorts Invitational 2018 Details:
When: January 12-14
Where: Tranquilo Golf Club
Cost: $60 plus fees for a 3-Day Grounds Pass or $30 plus fees for a 1-Day Grounds Pass
Channel: The Diamond Resorts Invitational will be nationally televised on Golf Channel from Jan. 12 through Jan. 14.
For more information, visit www.DiamondResortsInvitational.com